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August 19, 2009

World’s first convention bureau alliance gathers in South Africa

Cape Town recently witnessed the meeting of the BestCities Global Alliance, a group of convention bureau partners from across the globe.

The only alliance of its kind, BestCities includes representatives from Cape Town, itself, along with Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Melbourne, San Juan, Singapore and Vancouver. The alliance was created to deliver the “world’s best services for the meetings industry”.
In line with a commitment to deliver best practice across 36 service standards, as audited by Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance, the BestCities meeting included an Alliance Management Review (AMR), and Client and Sales Workshop, bringing together the eight BestCities member Bureaus and targeted clients.
Ramón L Sánchez, chair of the BestCities Management Committee and the representative for San Juan, said the main focus of the AMR was the discussion of an 18-Month Action Plan that would guide the BestCities strategy through to the end of 2010.
“In keeping with BestCities’ four pillars – Brand Development, Business Development, Knowledge Exchange and Service Standards – one day of our meeting was dedicated to a brainstorming session with our sales group representatives, so that our partners could leverage existing programmes and pool resources.

“While in Cape Town, we had the opportunity to meet with the local meetings industry and discuss various common ground issues on how to face challenges and opportunities in the present global economy.
“We were also pleased that Cape Town hosted our 2009 BestCities Client Workshop, where key decision makers from seven international associations were invited to participate in a one-on-one business session with each partner.”

Dr Les Chappell, executive secretary for the World Federation of Parasitologists, who attending the meeting as a client, commented: “Everything was exceptionally well organised and presented, and the discussions were useful.
“After meeting with each bureau representative, I believe all eight cities in the BestCities Global Alliance provide superb venue options for future conferences.”
As part of the BestCities’ corporate social responsibility commitment, the Cape Town programme also included a visit to the Baphumelele Children’s Home, where BestCities representatives were invited to donate an item of clothing or blanket for the project, which provides refuge for orphaned, abandoned or abused children.
The next BestCities Client Workshops will take place in 2010 in Melbourne, followed by Vancouver.

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